Town mouse loses his head for heights

One of the consolations of age is that you tend to get better at things over time. All those maths problems that stumped me at 13 now seem startlingly straightforward. I’m slightly better at spelling, and even at catching a ball.

Some powers, however, have declined. One of them is my head for heights. I had reason to reflect on this the other Saturday, when I went on a ferris wheel at my son’s Wimbledon school. In the Middle Ages, lucky people were imagined as sitting on the cusp of Fortune’s wheel, whereas I’d be happier at the bottom.

The ferris wheel was there to celebrate the anniversary of King’s College School’s removal from the Strand. It left as part of the general exodus from central London that sent Christ’s Hospital to Horsham and Charterhouse to Godalming. I might have been able to see Godalming from the ferris wheel if I’d dared look.

Wimbledon has now been absorbed by Greater London, but remains a village at heart. Some of this atmosphere pervades the school, which prides itself on green fields (and exam results) rather than architecture. But students of the comparative method of architectural history will recognise the name of the man who built the hall: Sir Banister Fletcher.

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